The dark horse of high school volleyball is galloping into first place.
The Belmont senior boys team dominates the court this year.
“It feels weird. We were always (known as) the team that loses,” said power hitter Taran Siles.
With a 19-3 record, they rank No. 1 in the city, No. 1 on the Island and No. 5 in the province heading into city championships that wrap today (Nov. 6) at Belmont in pursuit of a spot at the Islands, Nov. 15 and 16.
“This year we’ve just been really determined, knowing it’s our last year,” said captain Aidan Wells.
Coach Kris Johnson says the players have stepped up their game on top of running and diving hard during practices.
“The goal for the team is to be the best in Victoria and the best on the Island,” said Johnson.
“They also wanted to be fifth in the province, but they’ve already done that. Their strength and dedication are amazing.”
Johnson, in her third year coaching the senior boys team at Belmont also coaches the junior boys at Dunsmuir middle school, where she has been coaching for eight years.
Of the 15-player team, six have played together since they where in Grade 8 under Johnson’s coaching.
“We just know each other so well now,” said middle blocker Douglass Waterman.
“The senior boys team is probably our most accomplished team this year,” said Belmont’s athletic director, Ken Lowe.
“They are the whole package.”
The senior girls team, with a 6-1 record, is ranked third on the Island.
“It will be disappointing if they don’t make it to Islands,” Lowe said. “They are a good serving team and have some strong hitters. The senior girls are pretty experienced and they are very athletic.”
The junior girls and junior boys teams will have a harder time at city championships, facing up to 18 other teams in the city with only the top three moving to Island Championships.
The junior teams compete against every team in the Sooke School District.
The junior girls, at 18-2, are ranked second in the city and on the Island.
“We are big and we are athletic,” said Lowe, the junior girls coach.
The junior boys team struggles with a limiting six-player team and sits at 7-11 on the season.